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Thread: GOTD 7/3/2016: Blaster Master (NES)

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    Default GOTD 7/3/2016: Blaster Master (NES)



    Celerystalker is on vacation for a few weeks so Im going to keep the Game of the Day threads going for a little bit. I will probably do them for about a week, after which if anyone else then wants to take over feel free.
    So over the last year-and-a-half, I have been doing what I call 'NES Quest' where the goal is to beat as many NES/Famicom games as I can, and I have currently beaten 86 games. The last game I beat was Blaster Master so I think I will start by discussing that.

    The story of Blaster Master is simple and rather silly. Your pet frog escapes, and then touches some kind of large radioactive generator that you have installed in your back yard. Then, of course, the frog instantly grows to monstrous proportions... because thats what radioactivity does.. (duh!). Anyway, the frog then jumps down a deep dark hole. The only logical thing to do is to follow it, because hey.. whats the worst that can happen? Its not like some giant mutated frog is going to eat you or anything.. heh..
    Anyway, in the hole you find a giant pink-colored tank.. and lucky you.. somebody left the keys in the ignition! Oh, and the owner of the tank left a cool jump-suit & helmet for you to wear while you go blasting your way into the earth. I dont know which aspect of this story is the most absurd; the giant frog, the abandoned tank, or the personal nuclear reactor that you've got in your backyard.

    Now you guys probably know the backstory because you would have to be living underground to not have played Blaster Master at some point (pun intended). Blaster Master is widely considered to be an excellent game and many people consider it to be one of the best Nintendo NES games. This reputation is well deserved because being a Sunsoft title it has excellent music, the graphics are nicely textured and very well done, the controls are tight and there is lots of action.

    The game is composed of 8 stages, each with two parts. First you have to navigate the underground area in your tank, searching for the 'base' areas where the mutant bosses hide. There are multiple of these hidden bases in each stage, so finding the correct one that hides the boss is not a simple process. Once you enter a base, the game switches over to top-down view where you navigate various rooms looking for the boss. Once you destroy the boss you obtain a tank upgrade which allows you to progress to the next level. The bosses are all fairly easy, especially considering you can use the 'pause trick' on over half the bosses. If you press pause during a frame where you are damaging the boss, the game will pause but the boss will continue to take damage. Therefore you can basically take down these bosses in a single hit. I am unsure whether the pause trick was intentional or it is a glitch, but I get the feeling that it is intentional since it doesnt work on the final 2 bosses. This is probably one of the most well-know and awesome game glitch/tricks, and it was mentioned in Nintendo Power more than once.

    Blaster Master is a challenging nes title, but it is actually not as difficult as it may initally seem. The lack of a password or cotinue feature is the largest frustration. Any serious attempt at beating this game will require a certain amount of exploration/practice on the later stages, which means that you will have to play the first 4/5 stages multiple times. Stage 5 is a water level, and thats the only level I find a little annoying because its a little slow compared to the others.

    Other random observations/criticisms:
    -My biggest complaint about this game is the overuse of the color grey. Almost all the enemy sprites are grey. Like comon, use some other color than the most boring color in the world. geez.
    -The laser weapon you have during the top-down portions of the game is almost totally worthless. You can power it up but its just a total waste of time since you lose the power ups evey time you take damage. I think the only time I use it at all is against the level 5 boss.
    -The lightning bolt sub-weapon is pretty much useless as well. Sometimes it doesnt even work if there are too many sprites on the screen.
    -There are parts of stage 8 that seem downright impossible, but then you realize that you need to use the hover.
    -In many nes games, the goal is to rescue a princess. In this game you set out to rescue a frog. The final cutscene shows you sitting upon the tank next to your beloved friend... even though you blasted the s*** outta him not once but twice during the game.

    Phew, I think Ive written more than enough. Blaster Master. Played it? Of course you have..

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    Blaster Master is a fantastic game. One of my favorite NES games. The level design and the connections between the levels are great. Although a heavy action-shooter, it gives you the feeling of exploration. One of the best aspects is the use of the acquired weapons to proceed within a stage and to reach the next levels, and the soundtrack is top notch. Level 8 is tough, and so is the fight against the end boss.

    The only feature that prevented the game to become a true NES classic is the lack of a password system or a battery safe. In particular the last tough level makes it frustrating to start from the beginning again until you figure out what exactly is going on and how to proceed. After I knew the ins and out and every enemy pattern, it took me 2 hours to finish the game. The requirement to finish the game in one sitting was the biggest weakness; after all, other games at the time already used a password or a battery.

    One of the best on the NES, and very enjoyable still today. Just a year ago I played it again, and I had (besides the weaknesses you pointed out) hardly anything to complain. To play this little gem is just fun.
    Last edited by lendelin; 07-03-2016 at 01:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post
    The story of Blaster Master is simple and rather silly. Your pet frog escapes, and then touches some kind of large radioactive generator that you have installed in your back yard. Then, of course, the frog instantly grows to monstrous proportions... because thats what radioactivity does.. (duh!). Anyway, the frog then jumps down a deep dark hole. The only logical thing to do is to follow it, because hey.. whats the worst that can happen? Its not like some giant mutated frog is going to eat you or anything.. heh..
    Anyway, in the hole you find a giant pink-colored tank.. and lucky you.. somebody left the keys in the ignition! Oh, and the owner of the tank left a cool jump-suit & helmet for you to wear while you go blasting your way into the earth. I dont know which aspect of this story is the most absurd; the giant frog, the abandoned tank, or the personal nuclear reactor that you've got in your backyard.

    -In many nes games, the goal is to rescue a princess. In this game you set out to rescue a frog. The final cutscene shows you sitting upon the tank next to your beloved friend... even though you blasted the s*** outta him not once but twice during the game.

    Phew, I think Ive written more than enough. Blaster Master. Played it? Of course you have..
    This is silly because it's total bullshit. I have no idea why it exists or who came up with it. Play Metafight on Famicom and behold how there is no retarded prologue scene at all; the game just starts after pressing start at the title screen. As for the ending, granted I've never seen the ending in the NES port, but on Famicom you destroy what I presume to be the enemy base. I only have the cart, which makes me wish I had the manual to know the real story for this game. I expect the ending I saw to match a relatively serious storyline especially with a game title of 超惑星戦記!

    Nevertheless this is an awesome Sunsoft game, and the only reason I'm reluctant to play it more often is because of its strongest weakness -- limited continues and no saving or password system whatsoever. If you turn this game on you better have a good amount of time on hand if you intend to finish it. I'd say its second strongest weakness is the inability to kill yourself because of how unbelievably easy it is to get completely trapped and unable to continue the game without resetting it. Be VERY careful where you go and what you do every time you exit your tank. There's a section with green background late in the game that is notoriously designed with its platforms and jumps such that if you exit the tank and fall, you are never getting out of there.

    This is also one of the few games when I use my Hudsonsoft controller with turbo switches. I don't have the energy to spam A/B buttons during boss fights and elsewhere as much as this game needs me to. Not proud of using it but I feel it's acceptable to use for this title.

    EDIT: For whatever reason this came to mind. I can recommend a similar game, Ai Senshi Nicole (愛戦士ニコル) - at least that game lets you save! For those who don't know this FDS exclusive, it's another enjoyable adventure with Metafight-style action. I'd guess that it's Konami's approach to making a similar game. To be fair, I don't know which game was released first though.
    Last edited by FoxNtd; 07-03-2016 at 09:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post


    You really need a tripod or a table you can rest your camera against. If this is not practical then setting your camera to take a picture after a two second delay and holding it with your elbows tucked into your side while holding your breath will go a long way toward stabilizing the camera. Lowering the ISO (if your camera lets you) will help reduce oversaturation.
    Mario says "... if you do drugs, you go to hell before you die."

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    Thanks for picking this up!

    Blaster Master is one of those games that I didn't own as a kid, but played a bunch, as just about all of my friends had it. I own it now, of course, and it's rather fun, though like most folks I wish it had a save or password feature, as it's fairly long for an action game with a lot of ground to explore. I always got a kick out of jumping out and hopping around as tiny Jason in the overworld areas.

    Perhaps my biggest memory of Blaster Master, though, isn't from the game itself. It's from that pause trick you mentioned being on the Nintendo Power subscription card in just about every game of the era. I remember seeing that thing all over the place!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RP2A03 View Post
    You really need a tripod or a table you can rest your camera against. If this is not practical then setting your camera to take a picture after a two second delay and holding it with your elbows tucked into your side while holding your breath will go a long way toward stabilizing the camera. Lowering the ISO (if your camera lets you) will help reduce oversaturation.
    Yeah, I know that picture is weak. I usually just snap a few screenshots after I complete a NES game, and that pic is the only one I got with the final boss.


    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    Thanks for picking this up!

    Blaster Master is one of those games that I didn't own as a kid, but played a bunch, as just about all of my friends had it. I own it now, of course, and it's rather fun, though like most folks I wish it had a save or password feature, as it's fairly long for an action game with a lot of ground to explore. I always got a kick out of jumping out and hopping around as tiny Jason in the overworld areas.

    Perhaps my biggest memory of Blaster Master, though, isn't from the game itself. It's from that pause trick you mentioned being on the Nintendo Power subscription card in just about every game of the era. I remember seeing that thing all over the place!
    Welcome! Yeah those nintendo power cards were everywhere.
    Last edited by bb_hood; 07-03-2016 at 01:29 PM.

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    I hate this game. Not sure why but I just can't get into it. I thought it was junk but everyone else seems to like it for whatever reason, so I guess it's not an outright bad game like I originally thought.

    The opening introduction is pretty neat for a story, but still pretty dumb.



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    I made a review of Blaster Master about 6 years ago. One of my favorite games. I'll include my video and text review of the game.



    Blaster Master is a N.E.S. game released by Sunsoft in 1988. Hereís the story of Blaster Master. Itís about a teenage boy called Jason who had a pet frog named Fred who escaped from his aquarium, hopped outside, and jumped into a radioactive container that just happened to be in the yard. Jason ran after his frog. His frog grew to enormous size, and the frog fell into a giant hole that was mysteriously there. Jason jumped in, after his pet froggie and fell next to an abounded huge armored vehicle. So, he decided to risk his life and limb in the pursuit of his mutant frog against the radioactive mutants living under the Earth's crust. Sounds far fetched, doesnít make sense? Sound like a good reason to depart on an incredible journey? Well thereís a reason for this. Itís not the true story behind the game, in fact, this is just a story made for the ďAmericanĒ audience, Sunsoft must think Americans are retarded or insane I guess. The original game is called Super Planetary War Chronicles : Meta fight! Yeah! Now thatís an epic title! The game was released only in Japan. Hereís the story of Meta Fight. In this intergalactic mission, our hero Kane Gardner is chosen to be commander of the Metal Attacker, to fight against the evil emperor Goez who invades Kaneís home planet Sophia. Kane takes off from his underground base to annihilate the evil demon empire!

    There was a more complex story created later for the American game Blaster Master in the Worlds of Power novel of Blaster Master.
    While the intros and endings are different for the 2 games, (there isnít even an intro for Meta Fight,) the game-play is basically the same with minor differences.

    Game Play
    Blaster Master is a run and gun adventure platform game. It has top-down game-play and side-scrolling game-play. For first time players, Blaster Master might be a little intimidating and confusing. There are various paths to take, and you might get frustrated by the amount of rooms that you explore that lead nowhere and have no boss in them. Well, if you know where the boss is at, itíd be best to go directly there, and avoid the mostly useless rooms. You can refill ammo in these rooms, but basically theyíre just time wasters and opportunities to lose lives. Just get your GUN bar maxed out, and youíll be laying waste to those suckers, even blasting badies through walls! Be careful not to lose your health, or youíll lose your upgraded GUN. If you have low GUN power, or have an enemy in short range, use the bombs to wipe the creatures out. Unlike most games, the game play isnít exactly linear, youíll have to back track through previous areas a lot in order to get to the next area.


    Game play Physics

    When youíre out of your vehicle and out and about, be careful. Your guy Jason gets hurt way easier, he shoots weaker, and if you fall or jump off a small ledge, you suffer damage. If you jump from a high place, youíre going to eat it. Often itís hilarious, you bounce, then roll like when you die in Donkey Kong. There are cases where you wonít die, like if you jump into water, but youíll basically be stuck in the game without a way to get back to your vehicle Sophia. The only option you then have, is to kill yourself or reset the game. There are disadvantages of using Sophia. You move slowly in the water for most of the game, while Jason can freely swim about. If youíre faced against low level or short enemies, itíll be best to exit, and shoot them as Jason. If you take damage anywhere as Jason, even in the rooms, all you have to do is get back in Sophia, and your personal health is restored. Too bad your vehicle doesnít do the same.

    By the fourth area, the difficulty gets more noticeable. Your path is more of a maze, and you have to collect hover power more frequently to move on. The difficulty steadily increases throughout the game, and each area has itís own feel and environment. Blaster Master presents a good challenge, and feel of adventure. You donít experience any repetitiveness, and there are always new enemies to encounter.

    The music fits each area perfectly. Itís a shame there was never a sound track released for this game, as itís one of the best out there.

    The graphics are superior to most N.E.S. games, quite possibly the best in what the N.E.S. has to offer, even better than most first run Genesis and Turbo Graphix 16 games. Some bad aspects of the game. Well, there arenít many, but here they are. Be prepared to spend your whole afternoon or mourning playing Blaster Master, because itís long, and there is no save feature, or password option like in Zelda or Metriod.

    Difficulty. Iím not going to lie, the game is tough, combined with only 2 lives and 2 continues, youíll probably be needing them and more. But, there are tricks to get by. One is straight from an old Nintendo Power pamphlet. At the AREA 2, 4, 6, and 7 bosses. Time it right with your bombs, pause the game, and the boss will repeatedly take damage by the bomb. Unpause after a good 10 or 15 seconds, and youíve defeated the evil mutant.

    I give this game 10 out of 10. A must have game for anyone who owns an N.E.S. Also available for the Wii Virtual Console emulator, in Japan as Meta Fight for the Famicom, and Meta Fight along with Ripple Island released for the Playstation in Sunsoft Memorial Series Vol.4 in Japan.
    Last edited by buzz_n64; 07-03-2016 at 06:11 PM.

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    Outstanding pick for a GOTD!! One the games I rediscovered when i got into emulation.
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    Angry

    I've never actually played this game. Everyone I know who has played it loved it though.

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    Got this as a gift shortly after it came out or bought it I don't remember but I've held onto it all these years. I love it and I love to hate it. Why? Already said -- no password, limited continues. A very bad combination when a game is already fairly hard (Sunsoft ...of course) but is also too long for its own good. Even if you know it well and can just do it, it's still long. I finished it back in the day but never again. At least the GBC sequel that one password saves by stage so it makes the game a lot more approachable but not easier either. Solid story(even if it's a joke), great game play mechanics in and outside of Sofia(the car), good use of detail even if a lot of gray is used, and as always with sunsoft, wicked sound track.

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